Mugs of spilt beer that coated the ground and hastily pushed aside table stools composed the majority of the scenery in the inn tavern on the ground floor. Judging by the stickiness of the ground from where the beer spilled, it was evident that at least a day had passed since the premises were evacuated.
It was such a strange sight. What would cause everyone to just pack up and leave in such a hurry, even Madame Elisa and Countess Ilyana? It was out of character of them to simply leave him behind, unless the circumstances truly necessitated it.
As Devon made his way through the messy tavern, a sudden surge of energy caused the hairs on the back of his neck to stand up, causing his arms to form goosebumps instantly. He swallowed, as another pulse of intense mana rippled through the air.
[Blessing of the Witch has been activated]
Devon didn’t activate his passive, so why did it activate by itself?
[Blessing of the Witch is generating a protective camouflage]
Devon stared at the words floating in front of him. It was a new message, one that he’d never seen thus far despite borrowing upon the blessing of the witch’s mana reserves several times now.
The abandoned tavern inn seemed a bit more intimidating now, as Devon’s heart raced, his eyes darting around, trying to find the source of the intense, almost suffocating amount of mana being pulsed through the air like an ocean earthquake causing a torrential ripple effect with hundreds of kilometer high waves enough to sink even the most sturdy of ships.
And what was this about a protective camouflage effect? Why did he need protective camouflage? From what was he hiding from?
Devon carefully tiptoed over to the tavern’s counter and ducked underneath the counter, staying silent.
A minute passed.
Two minutes passed.
Ten minutes passed. Devon felt his knees begin to hurt a bit, as he lay crouched beneath the counter over the tavern, peeking out every so often to check if anything stirred the tables and stools and closed door that led outside. Despite the distinct and rather alarming lack of birds chirping outside, it seemed peaceful in the village at the moment. Devon thought he could stay here for a bit longer, until he understood what exactly he was dealing with. He knew that his passive would render him invulnerable to most forms of physical attack, but, to put it quite frankly, death was a painful experience that he’d rather not replicate if he had the choice.
Twenty minutes passed. Devon held his breath figuratively speaking while watching that little active buff called [Protective Camouflage] on his peripheral vision. Something ominous triggered this ability to activate automatically to protect him, and he couldn’t figure out what it was.
Thirty minutes passed.
That was enough. The sound of his own breath was beginning to drive him insane, since there seemed to be a radio silence dearth of animal sounds coming from outside.
Devon knew one thing for certain. He couldn’t just hide in an abandoned village’s tavern forever. He needed food to maintain his body’s physical strength, since he’d turn into a weak skeleton even with [Dead Man Walking] without food to fuel and rebuild his body. And he needed to return to civilization, to live life, to experience and explore more of this strange and fantastical world.
Standing up straight, Devon walked to the tavern inn door and opened the door, walking outside. The sun shone brightly down as his skin basked in the afternoon glow. Devon felt the warm kiss of sunlight coat his body, as the afternoon breeze whooshed through the empty village, carrying the rather unpleasant scent of rotting carcasses.
A shadow descended upon Devon, blocking the rays of sunlight from reaching his body.
Devon froze, realizing that the shadow had to be cast by something above him. Something big. Extraordinarily big.
As a group of clouds passed by, the shadow’s outline became more clear. There was fur, and two massive horns…
[Blessing of the Witch protective camouflage has been broken due to proximity with the target.]
[Your mana is no longer being concealed.]
The moment that Blessing of the Witch’s mana camouflage was broken, sound began to pour back into Devon’s head. The sound from outside that previously was being suppressed by the active ability’s mana camouflage now could freely enter and exit Devon’s mana bubble.
Devon gulped nervously, then looked up…
Towering above him was the same snarling behemoth from the battlefield before. But why would it be here, of all places? And why were its eyes fixated on him?
The behemoth let out a loud snarl, then spoke, in a low rumbling ancient tongue of demons.
My master requests a meeting with you.
Devon flinched, realizing that he could understand the behemoth’s demonic language. For some reason, [Dead Man Walking] was showing up on his peripheral vision as an active ability at the moment.
He’d never seen that happen before. It was as if the passive was now allowing him to translate the demonic language of the underworld. But why…?
“W-what do you want?” Devon replied in a shaky voice. He thought he spoke in the common tongue, but what came out of his mouth was an ancient language of demons. His passive flashed vibrantly while he spoke.
You possess something that my master requires. Come with me, human.
Devon took a step back, his hand tracing his moonlight steel sword.
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